The Other Side of Building

This is more of a personal post than most on here so up to you if you want to read it but I feel it’s important to share all sides of the building process. Not just timelines and costs and how nice it may or may not look when it’s done. But the emotional toll it’s taken on me.

We’re now approximately 20 months in since we started talking about potentially building our own home and looking at displays. People have stopped even asking me what’s happening with the house out of fear and it’s such a relief that they have.

First off, everything takes longer than you can possibly plan for. It took 14 months for our land to register and we have spent 16 months in the admin cycle with Wisdom for our build before getting to estimating and construction.

Now it sounds superficial that I’m complaining about waiting but there were big impacts from all that waiting. Our financial state was in a constant freeze of saving every last cent to prove our ongoing regular saving habit to the banks for loan approvals. We had stripped our lives down to the bare minimum 12 months before we even started thinking about building to begin building a deposit so we have been living a cut back lifestyle for over 2.5 years now. We knew it would leave us with a great nest egg by the time we got the house to finish everything off, buy the 2nd car we would need and start off the next chapter of our life well but it was still tough at times.

Then on top of this, I became deeply unhappy in my job in early 2017. I had spent most of my 20s with this company and it felt like home. My team was like my family (they still are). Suddenly new management had come in, the environment changed, my team slowly broke down under this and started leaving and at the end I was left holding the ball with a project I wasn’t experienced enough to handle. Now I would have jumped ship with them if it wasn’t for the build and knowing I had all these financial goals to kick with loan approvals. The golden rule is don’t change jobs while applying for a loan after all.

The combination of worrying over buying anything that was a large expense on our shoestring budget (like the month where our BBQ, lawnmower and dryer all broke), hating every minute of my job and dealing with coordinating all the house admin and never ending loan approvals really took its toll on me.

Around June 2017 when our land delays started and the light at the end of the tunnel kept moving further and further away life really deteriorated for me. My stress relief is running or the gym, and things were getting so bad that I couldn’t even motivate myself to do those very often.

In August I finally acknowledged that the situation was outside my control and started seeing my doctor regularly for mild depression and anxiety. He very much agreed that our circumstances were the most likely cause and while there was no easy out, it was huge release to acknowledge I was ill. I felt extremely guilty that we’re privileged enough to have good paying jobs and be in the situation to build this house which he helped me with a lot. He gave my mini goals every week to focus on outside of worn which worked well but I also decided if things got too much then selling the land and staying where we are would not be the end of the world.

A week in Wellington NZ for work really tipped the perspective for me. Away from the oppressive environment of my normal office I was having fun at work again, getting out and running regularly and just enjoying life. It was the sign I needed that things had to change and soon.

When we got our conditional approval for our loan with Heritage and our employer verification was done in late October I felt like this was finally it. I had an out. An acquaintance through one of my colleagues had a job that I was well suited for and I jumped at it. Within a week I had interviewed twice, accepted the role and gave my notice. Only for the stab to the heart that Wisdom and Heritage were not going to agree and we needed to find a new bank and I was about to start a new job.

I ended up leaving my old job on stress leave after I gave my notice which was a huge blessing. Even though I was dealing with the fall out of finding a new bank, it gave me time to put my old job behind me and start to return to normal. I realised how bad things were because I suddenly felt like me 5 years ago which was a feeling I had long forgotten. I spent time with family and friends and remembered there is so much more than just work and the house

Life has improved as the burdens have been shed, unconditional loan approval and getting to end panel with Wisdom were big reliefs.

At Christmas my husband gave me the ultimate Christmas present by letting me buy an Audi Q2 with our savings that were meant to be for the house. He had realised how much I had carried through this whole process and so we agreed when we had to start over the loan process to request a bit more than the build amount to cover landscaping and window furnishings. While I had been practical about the need for a second car he encouraged me that I deserved to be impractical and pick something I loved.

It took hitting the low to get a new perspective on life. 2018 is looking magnificent now we are back in the move with the house. I’m running my first half marathon since 2016 in May which has me back in a happy place of running and working out regularly. But I’m not taking it for granted. The only target everyday now is to to have a good day and remember what is really important.

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